Welcome to the ABA! Bell Talk Forums Large Bells 16" Bronze Bell from Cabbage Key, Florida

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    • #11205

      This bell is from the boathouse of Cabbage Key, an island off of Boca Grande on the west coast of Florida. I’m looking for information such as when was it cast, who made it, etc.

      Here is a brief history as I know it. Mary Roberts Reinhart, a popular author in the early 1900’s purchased 80 acre Palmetto Island (locally known as Cabbage Key, which now is its official name) and built a main house, three cottages, water tower, generator house and boat house and dock to celebrate her marriage. The island was fully outfitted with linens, dishes, etc. including a bell for the boat house. Sadly the newlyweds never visited the island and it sat empty and for sale for years. In the early 1940’s my grandparents, knowing nothing of Florida or island life on the water, gave up a prosperous advertising agency in Chicago, moved the family to Cabbage Key and operated it as a inn for 25 years. During the off seasons my grandfather turned his artistic training to painting.

      The boat house bell was rung to welcome guests as they arrived on the island, and otherwise only as a call to action in the event of an emergency. Upon selling the island in the mid ’60’s my family removed the boat house bell as a keepsake. The iron hanging hardware spent too much time in the salty air and is in need of repair/replacement. The iron clapper is also rusted, but not too badly pitted.

      16 and 1/4 inches diameter
      13 and 1/4 inches high
      hanging hardware is about 10″
      The only markings on the bell are punch stamped as follows: 12 381/4 D 531

      Any info would be greatly appreciated!
      Larry Stults

    • #14812

      To clarify the stamped number is
      38 and one quarter (stamped as 1/4)

      more or less in a line with a space between the four groups above.


      Larry Stults

    • #14811

      This is obviously a bronze bell that has been exposed to the elements. The blue coloration is most likely due to copper salts that are blue such as copper sulfate. The bell most likely was a ship bell. It has no markings that indicate the founder.
      Harry Long, MD

    • #14813

      The numbers sound like the code that Baldwin Locomotive Works stamped on their bells and builders plates. There are railroad collectors that know how to interpret the code and could tell you the locomotive it was on. Of course it would have been mounted in a yoke on top of the locomotive.

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